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Looking for a fun vacation? Instead of going to just one city, why not check out a few on the same trip? An east coast road trip is the perfect way to see more of the US and get some amazing views along the way. Up and down the east coast, you’ll find popular routes to take you to some of the best gems in the country, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia to the White Mountains of New England, here are the best east coast road trips.
1. Blue Ridge Parkway
Arguably the most classic route through the east coast of the United States, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains in the states of Virginia and North Carolina. The road features the stunning Appalachian Mountain Range, small mountain towns, and some of the best scenery you’ll find in the region. A favorite stop along the route include Shenandoah National Park, in Waynesboro, Virginia. The park is known best for waterfalls, hikes, and amazing views in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While near Shenandoah, check out a drive along Skyline Drive, one of the area’s most scenic roads. Another favorite stop is Roanoke, Virginia, a colonial town in the southern part of the state. In North Carolina, be sure to check out the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC, as well as the city of Asheville NC, known for its hip vibes. The trip is best in the fall to get the full effect of the changing leaves.
2. Overseas Highway
If you’re looking to combine your road trip with your beach trip, travel down the Overseas Highway, stretching the length of the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Key West. The island chain off the coast of southern Florida is known for laid-back vibes, dozens of beach towns, and golden sand beaches. Start your trip in Key Largo, where you can check out steamboat tours, try authentic southern food like conch fritters, or visit the US’s first underwater park at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Of course, you can’t go to Key Largo without a tour of Everglades National Park, either. After Key Largo, stop in Islamorada for the great sportfishing, and later stop by Marathon’s Long Key State Park. Once you get to Key West, stay in town for the beaches, snorkeling, diving, seaside villages, and more. There is so much to see and do in Key West, including the Stock Island Marina Village, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and the Key West Lighthouse.
3. New England Road Trip
You can’t travel through the east coast without heading to New England. The White Mountains region of New Hampshire is known for extreme beauty, as well as small towns, rich history, and great food. In the White Mountains region, you’ll be able to get your fill of horseback riding and hiking — check out the routes along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway for the best views. Continue through the region to Vermont, where you’ll always be surrounded by green mountains, as well as all the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and maple syrup your heart desires. Down in Massachusetts, stop by the Salem Witch house in the town of Salem, home to the famous Salem Witch Trials in the 17th century. Afterward, loop back around the region for Rhode Island’s gems and Maine’s beauty. While in Maine, tuck in to some famous Maine lobster roll to fuel your trip. The best lobster roll comes from the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine.
4. Historic National Road
Running through parts of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, the Historic National Road spans over 800 miles and 200 years of history. The road was originally built as a way to travel more toward the West, as well as transport goods back and forth. The road goes from Baltimore, MD to Vandalia, IL, through some of the oldest cities and tons of great sights and sounds. Top places to stop along the route include Antietam Battlefield, the site of one of the most important battles of the American Civil War, as well as the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Fredericksburg, MD. Be sure to check out the small towns and changing leaves, along with the mountains and streams along the rest of the route.
5. South Carolina Road Trip
Looking for those charming southern vibes? A road trip through South Carolina is sure to deliver. Charming towns, small beaches, and tons of history, the state is the perfect place for a summer or spring road trip. Popular stops include Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, and Charleston. Other places worth visiting are the Greenville/Spartanburg area, the South Carolina low country, or any of the lighthouses in the state. The state is also home to dozens of haunted spots to make it a spooky road trip. Check out Crybaby Bridge in Anderson, SC, the Battery Carriage House in Charleston, and the Curiosity Shop in Graniteville.
6. New York to DC Road Trip
Get all the big cities in one trip on the NYC to DC road trip. Start your trip in New York City, where you can see the city’s classic sights, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, the Empire State Building, and Times Square. If you’re not so pressed on time, check out some of the lesser known sites, including the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. From New York, take off on the route George Washington himself took during the American Revolution. After NYC, head off to Philadelphia, the first capital of the United States. The city sandwiched between NYC and DC is often overlooked but is well worth the stop. Check out the Independence Hall and the Constitution Center, and be sure to try a classic Philly cheesesteak while in town. After Philadelphia, make your way down through Delaware and Maryland, and stop at some of the small bayside towns. After Maryland, you’ll arrive in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. DC is full of fun things to do and ways to spend your days, including touring the White House or the US Capitol Building. Check out the Smithsonian Museums or any of the parks, like the Botanical Garden or Zoo while in the city.